By Gerald G. May
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Extra resources for Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions (Plus)
She had “forgotten” all about overdoing the nose drops and was now convinced she needed stronger ones, perhaps something available by pre- Gerald G. D. / 23 scription. She called her doctor, who scolded her for exceeding the recommended dosage and told her to stop the drops entirely. But Sally was feeling desperate. ” she shouted. But the doctor refused and said to have faith; if she left her nose alone it would clear up in a day or two. Sally argued and pleaded, but the doctor remained adamant.
Severely addicted people feel unworthy and incapable of getting what they need in straightforward ways, no matter what masks of competence or grandiosity they may wear. It is true, then, that a particular kind of personality distortion occurs with addiction, not as its cause but as its effect. 2 If we cannot blame addiction on some preexisting personality problem, we must look elsewhere for its causes.
The addicted person knows full well that she has a real problem. Denial, repression, and rationalization do not necessarily stop; they simply fail to keep the truth hidden. The mechanisms continue and take on even more unrealistic proportions. But since hiding the truth from oneself is no longer as effective, it becomes increasingly important to hide it from other people. Now the addictive behavior becomes more secre- 46 / Addiction and Grace tive; the person may hide bottles and consciously lie.